Case studies, Issues, Support, Volunteers

Inkberrow visiting service framework


On 10th May 2012, St. Peter’s Church Committee agreed to sponsor a visiting service as an extension of the pastoral care offered by the Pastoral Care Network.


  1. to provide company and listening support for those in the community who are lonely or isolated;
  2. to keep a pastoral watch on such people, who are often vulnerable, and to liaise with the contact’s family, and other support networks, where appropriate.


The Visiting Service is overseen and monitored by the St. Peter’s Pastoral Care Network Group [PCNG] – which is itself overseen and monitored by St. Peter’s Church Committee. On a day-to-day basis, responsibility is vested in the Network Convenor(s) who are supported by the clergy and Licensed Lay Ministers.


  1. Volunteers for the Visting Service are appointed by the PCNG. Before they begin their role, they are interviewed and briefed as appropriate, and CRB clearance must have been obtained, and references taken up where a volunteer is new to the role and/or to the local community. The PCN Covenant of Confidentiality must also be agreed and signed.
  2. Volunteers will be reliable, sensitive, caring, and good listeners. They must work with due regard to the PCC’s  Safeguarding Policy for Vulnerable Adults, the Guidelines for Safeguarding (provided by the Diocese of Worcester),  Responding Well, and Promoting a Safer Church, both produced by the Church of England, which can be found in the library (e-copies available to all volunteers).
  3. Volunteers will be appointed by a supervisor who will give support and advice as necessary.
  4. The “visitor” must be careful to recognise that contacts will be regarded as vulnerable.

Co-ordinator responsibilities:

  1. The co-ordinator will be responsible for making the appointment of a “visitor”, and for their induction;
  2. He/she will act as supervisor for the volunteers and be their point of reference and will review each contact and volunteer on a 3month basis.


Normally, contacts will self-refer, or a family member may ask for input. The existence of the Visitor Service will be advertised discreetly where appropriate.


The Visitor Service seeks to provide a suitable volunteer wherever possible. It will be made clear to contacts that their ‘visitor’ cannot always be the same volunteer.

The Service is offered for periods of 3 months, after which the situation is reviewed by the Co-ordinator.

The Guidelines below seek to address most issues that may arise for volunteers.

Good Practice Guidelines

for those who offer Pastoral Care, Holy Communion or Befriending in the context of visiting people in their homes


1. All volunteers must have received clearance at enhanced level from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS c/o the Diocese of Worcester) before undertaking this work;
2. All volunteers must sign and adhere to the Covenant of Confidentiality (one copy to be held by their supervising minister);
3. The volunteer should agree in advance times to be spent with the contact (client);
4. Most pastoral visits visits should normally be no more than an one hour at any one time;
5. The most anyone should visit is twice per week unless there is a legitimate reason to do so more frequently;
6. The volunteer is there mostly to listen to the contact and to facilitate conversation as appropriate

Safe Practice

7. The volunteer should not prepare food unless there is a good reason.
8. The volunteer should not undertake domestic duties;
9. The volunteer will remain in the main living area normally, but may need to go into the kitchen eg. to make a drink.
10. The volunteer will normally avoid using the toilet in the contact’s home, and will not go into any other part of the dwelling;
11. If the volunteer is concerned about their own safety being compromised, their supervising minister or scheme co-ordinator must ensure that two people should attend at the same time. This applies as well to situations where accusations are made by people with memory loss;
12. The contact and the volunteer have the right to ask the supervising minister or scheme co-ordinator for a review;
13. No volunteer should give their personal details (eg telephone numbers) to the contact unless they are sure that this would be
14. The volunteer will record all visits and keep ongoing notes as appropriate. Such notes should be kept confidential in a dedicated notebook. Particular note will be made of any concerns, unusual behaviour or events. The volunteer must also record any actions taken, especially those that fall outside these Guidelines, with times, together with reasons for those actions;
15. Matters of concern about the contact (eg health, safety or wellbeing) will be logged (as in 14) and will normally be shared as soon as possible with the supervising minister or scheme co-ordinator, a member of the clergy, or the Bishop’s Representative;
16. Assuming that volunteers take reasonable care and keep within these guidelines, they will be have insurance cover (EIG insurance) through their Church policy.
17. ALL conversations are strictly confidential (subject to normal rules of supervision). The only exception to this is if an agreement is made between all parties that information may be shared (eg with a health professional). Such an agreement will be written and signed by the contact, who will make clear the boundaries and purpose of such information being shared.
18. The volunteer may feel it necessary to share limited information with colleagues involved in Pastoral Care ministry, but only on a ‘need to know’ basis as specified in the Covenant of Confidentiality.